Monday, March 4, 2013

Complete Proteins

BBQ Veggie Pita Pizza
First Mondays of the month I participate in a  phone call with a dietitian paid for by my insurance. I would prefer in person nutrition classes and the like, but this is what my insurance pays for. It's a bit like having a life coach for health. At the end of each call she asks me to set goals. I said I should keep the same goals since I was not satisfied with my follow through from last month. But then I realized, I also want to focus on making sure that I am eating enough complete proteins. Since I am no longer eating beef and I have greatly reduced my cheese intake, she was concerned that I make sure I am getting enough protein. I think I have been, but it's possible that some of my recent fatigue and negative emotions have been related.

We discussed what a complete protein is. Many people have told me that I need to make sure I am getting enough protein, or complete proteins if I am reducing and/or removing meat and cheese from my dietary habits, but one friend explained it as such:

"Any combination of 2 or more of these food groups makes a complete protein:
seeds &  nuts
beans & legumes
whole grains
eggs & dairy"

My dietician basically confirmed, and added that of course it is easier to get complete protein by eating meat, eggs or dairy, but if I'm going to focus on vegetative matter to get my protein, the above list minus the eggs and dairy is right. She also mentioned that the only complete protein found yet in a non meat or dairy food is quinoa. Complete proteins apparently have to do with amino acid chains or some such. I tried to look it up on as she suggested but haven't found it yet. Still, complete proteins are not impossible or even that hard to attain without meat or dairy, so I can still continue my quest to see how I do on less meat (no beef) and at least 50% less cheese (which I think is much more than 50% less at this point) For example in today's breakfast I had both the protein that was available from the veggies and almond butter. I'm not sure if that's technically a complete protein, but it's definitely healthier than one or the other. If I had put the peanut butter on some whole wheat toast it would have met the dietitians requirements. It also would have doubled my carb intake for the day, so I chose to forgo the bread. Not sure if that was the best decision or not protein wise, but it was good for my blood sugar. I'll run things like that by the dietitian next time. I did however make sure to get complete proteins in my lunch by having both whole wheat in the pita, and cheese on it. Plus I had good fiber, added extra veggies, and if I had made the cheese vegan by making it out of nuts it would have been non dairy but still complete proteins.

 Update on cheese changes. I have been asking myself the question "Do I really need or want cheese with/on whatever I am eating?" as I planned, and that has greatly reduced my cheese intake. Plus, when I do eat cheese, I am starting to eat 1/2 as much. For example on today's pita pizza, I decided that since I do not have any vegan cheese around right now, I did indeed want cheese on my pizza. BUT I used 1/8 cup shredded cheese instead of 1/4 cup. Also, I added salad greens to my pita pizza for some added herbal flavor, and I really enjoyed it that way! The full recipe is below.

 BBQ Veggie Pita Pizza
1/3 Red Bell Pepper (I ate the rest on the side raw which was delicious)
 1/2 heritage tomato
 1 roasted serrano chili pepper
 1 cup of salad greens (I used a basil arugula mix)
1 tablespoon bbq tomato sauce (home made)
1 whole wheat pita

Cut roasted chili pepper into small bits and mix into bbq sauce spreading evenly over pita chop 1/3 bell pepper and 1/2 tomato into bite sized chunks and spread around pita. Sprinkle 1 cup of salad greens over all the rest sprinkle 1/8 cup shredded cheese of your choice on top cook at 250 for 10 minutes (for crispy crust cook the pita for 10 minutes before adding toppings)

Later I may combine chickpeas and sesame seeds to make a complete protein and eat a snack of veggies and hummus. And for dinner I will have quinoa with roasted veggies and a side salad. For desert I am asking Patch to bring home bananas which I can try eating since apparently bananas are only a mild food intolerance and not a complete allergy as I had thought. I have a recipe I have been wanting to try out for chocolate banana brownies. Meat Free Monday should be a success!

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